Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) chairman-elect Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) has stressed the so-called “1992 consensus” in his first interaction with Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平).
The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) sent a congratulatory letter to Wu 90 minutes after the KMT announced the result of chairperson election on Saturday evening.
Sources said that prior to receiving the letter, the KMT was worried it would not be sent, as Beijing reportedly disapproved of the former vice president due to his emphasis of the “different interpretations” element of the “1992 consensus” and his statement that the KMT should not mention unification.
The “1992 consensus” — a term former Mainland Affairs Council chairman Su Chi (蘇起) said that he made up in 2000 — refers to a tacit understanding between the KMT and the Chinese government that both sides acknowledge there is “one China,” with each side having its own interpretation of what “China” means.
Wu had previously criticized a KMT “peace charter” approved last year under KMT Chairwoman Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱) for the charter’s omission of the “different interpretations” part of the “1992 consensus.”
Wu has also on several occasions said that “different interpretations” is a necessary entailment of the “1992 consensus” and questioned Hung’s policy of pursuing a peace agreement with Beijing.
In the congratulatory letter, Xi rehashed the “1992 consensus” and urged opposition to Taiwanese independence.
“Since 2008, both the KMT and the CCP have worked for peaceful cross-strait development on a common political basis with fruitful results. The cross-strait peace is now fraught with challenges. The two parties should commit themselves to the well-being of people on the both sides, insist on the ‘1992 consensus’ and oppose Taiwanese independence,” it said.
In his reply, Wu wrote: “It is anticipated that both the CCP and the KMT will continue to deepen the ‘1992 consensus’ and institutionalize peace across the Taiwan Strait.”
“In 1992, the KMT and the CCP reached the conclusion that both sides of the Taiwan Strait should adhere to the ‘one China’ principle, but both sides orally agreed to make its own interpretation of what that means. It is based on this consensus that a negotiation mechanism has been institutionalized, agreements have been signed following years of effort and [Taiwan-China relations] have progressed from confrontation to peaceful development,” Wu wrote.
“With hindered communication across the strait, I will lead the party to take on the responsibility to protect and ensure the personal well-being, rights, social and economic exchange, and cultural transmission for people on both sides,” he wrote.
The CCP began sending congratulatory letters to the KMT chairperson-elect in July 1988, when the term “cross-strait interaction” was first adopted in the KMT national congress.
Then-CCP general secretary Zhao Ziyang (趙紫陽) sent a congratulatory letter to former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) for his KMT chair victory following the decades-long rule by former president Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) and his son, Chiang Ching-kuo (蔣經國).
Even in the aftermath of the 1996 Taiwan Strait crisis, former Chinese president Jiang Zemin (江澤民) sent a congratulatory letter to Lee in 1997 when he was re-elected as KMT chairman, but the form of address was changed from “CCP Secretary-General to KMT Chairperson” to “CCP Central Committee to KMT Central Committee.”
The form of address has been maintained to avoid recognition of the dual identities of CCP secretary-general and KMT chairperson as the presidents of China and Taiwan.
Jiang in 2001 sent another congratulatory letter to former vice president Lien Chan (連戰) when he was elected KMT chairman, with Lien’s name written out as a show of respect.
Former Chinese president Hu Jintao (胡錦濤) in 2005 sent a chair election congratulatory letter to former president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), who was the first to reply to a CCP congratulatory letter.
Ma was referred to as “mister” in Hu’s letter, which it repeated when former KMT chairmen Wu Poh-hsiung (吳伯雄) and Eric Chu (朱立倫) were elected.
When Hung was elected as the KMT’s first female leader last year, Xi addressed her with the honorific version of “you.”
However, in Saturday’s letter, Wu was addressed with the non-honorific “you,” a change that has given rise to speculation.
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